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Help identifying soldiers from Olive Edis photographs


Liz Elmore
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Hi all,

 

I'm working with Cromer Museum's collection of Olive Edis photographs (she was Britain's first official female war photographer, and photographed the women's services in France and Belgium - as yet not very well known, but we're hoping to change that!) and I'm hoping you can help me identify some studio portraits of soldiers which we have in the collection. I posted these pictures in the uniforms section of the forum and some forum members very kindly helped me out with the uniforms, and it was suggested that if I shared them here, someone might be able to help me find out a bit more about the individuals. These are all scanned from glass plate negatives, and would have almost certainly have been taken at Edis' studios in either London or Sheringham, Norfolk. Edis was a professional photographer whose clients included Prime Minister David Lloyd George in 1917 and the royal family in 1920 (including the future Kings Edward VIII and George VI), so I assume these soldiers would all have been from fairly privileged backgrounds. Many of them certainly seem to be higher ranking officers. Most of the negatives have a brief note on them which just gives a rank, a surname and a date. 

 

1) Dr. Mayes, 1916, Royal Army Medical Corps

 

CR10266sm.jpg

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2) Major Colette (possibly Corlette), 1917 - King Edwards Horse (overseas dominions) 

 

CR10480sm.jpg

 

I wondered if he might be Major Hubert Christian Corlette, mentioned here when you search for 'Corlette' - http://kingedwardshorse.net/nominal_roll.html but I wasn't sure if he looked old enough to have been born in 1869? What do you think?

 

 

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4) Major Helme, 1915

 

CR10346small.jpg

 

There are lots more but I though I'd start with these four (my favourites!)

 

Thanks so much for your help.

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A possibility for "Dr. Mayes, 1916, Royal Army Medical Corps", although he was not a doctor, is Charles Mayes, Quarter Master and Hon. Lt., later Hon. Capt.

He was gazetted Q.M. and Hon. Lt. on 11 September 1914 in the 2nd. East Anglian Field Ambulance.

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28965/page/9030

The photo shows the officer wearing two pips on his sleeve as a Lieutenant.

He was promoted to Q.M. and Hon. Capt. on 11 September 1917, and went out to France on 2 March 1918.

There is also a Norfolk connection in that his medal index card gives a correspondence address of Horse Shoes Hotel, Wroxham, Norfolk. 

 

There was also another officer in the R.A.M.C. named Mayes - Frederick Alexander James Mayes who was gazetted Lt. in the South Midlands Field Ambulance on 3 December 1915. He was promoted Capt. on 3 June 1916, and relinquished his commission on account of ill-health contracted on active service on 18 September 1917.

There is no medal index card for him which may indicate that he did not claim his medals. A Frederick James Alexander Mayes, a dentist, died in Bristol on 3 September 1939 (born about 1877).

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Thank you Harry, that's really useful! I did a quick search for a Charles Mayes in Wroxham and he apparently owned the Horse Shoes Hotel until the 1930s, and used to run boat trips along the Broads. (I'm now consulting the rest of my office here at the museum to see if they think our Mayes looks more like a dentist or a hotel manager... ;))

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Major Helme is Major Ernest Helme.

Born in Walthamstow in 1873, son of Richard Helme, a bank director, and Louisa Helme. Educated at Winchester College and Christ Church College, Oxford.

Gazetted 2nd Lt. into the Glamorganshire Yeomanry 26 February 1902.

Promoted to the rank of Major 26 August 1914

Appointed Staff Captain 5 August 1914

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28892/page/7015

He later saw frontline service and was awarded the D.S.O. and Bar. 

The Cambrian Daily Leader newspaper of Wednesday 4 December 1918, in reporting the award of his D.S.O. (actually the second award at this time, the first being in January 1918) commented that "He is a brilliant pianist and whistler, and an acceptable vocalist.". His mother, referred to in the report as Mrs. Mashiter, lived on the Gower Peninsula and Major Helme was reported as having organised many social events there pre-war. He also contested the parliamentary seat in 1906. He died on 21 June 1949 and was buried in Llangenith Churchyard, Gower.  

Further research would, no doubt, expand greatly on the above.

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Harry, that's amazing - thank you so much! It's wonderful to hear a bit more about him. My colleague and I had wondered whether he was actually a pianist, or if it was a prop. We have several photos of him at the piano, which belonged to Edis (she kept it in her studio and it appears in her photos every so often). Now we know! Thank you again. We really appreciate you taking the time to help us!

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Liz,

Regarding Major Airas (?). There appears to be no officer of this name in the Great War. Would it be possible, please, to post an image of the naming of this photograph as written by Olive, i.e.in her handwriting?

Harry 

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Hi Harry,

 

I thought it was an unusual name! It's very likely that it was misread - Edis' handwriting takes a bit of getting used to. It will have been written on paper envelope accompanying the negative, so I'll see if I can get a photograph of it.

 

Liz

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Hi Harry,

 

I'm afraid I can't check today, but I will have a look in a couple of weeks (I am going to be away until early November). In the meantime, here are a couple more mysteries to tempt you!

 

Jack & Leslie Gordon, 1918 - I assume they are brothers but I could be wrong.

 

Leslie first - his collar badge (I think) suggests the York & Lancaster Regiment, so I wondered if he might actually be Philip Leslie Gordon: https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/1391037

 

CR10308sm.jpg

 

 

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And Jack, whose badge I can't see well enough to attempt an ID. We have two photos of Leslie and three of Jack, but these two have the clearest views of their badges.

 

 

CR09823sm.jpg

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The Gordon's were indeed brothers.

Jack Gordon's collar badges are Royal Artillery.

Philip Leslie Gordon was gazetted 2nd Lt. into the 3rd Battalion York and Lancaster Regt. on 31 July 1915

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29247/page/7483

and [Jack] John Barritt Gordon, ditto, into the Royal Field Artillery on 21 December 1917

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30452/supplement/107 click back a page for the heading.

 

Philip Leslie Gordon was born on 16 April 1896 in Hampstead, London, and John Barritt Gordon was born 30 December 1898 in Hampstead London. They were the sons of Alexander Duncan Gordon (1858 - 1915) and Alice Elise Gordon (formerly Awmack) (1867 - 1941) [from a family tree on ancestry]. Alexander Duncan Gordon was a Master Brewer (1901 census).

Philip Leslie Gordon died on 11 June 1992. John Barritt Gordon died in June 1978.

 

Edit to add: John Barritt Gordon was promoted Lt. on 21 June 1919 and relinquished his commission on 1 April 1920.  After the war he became an opera producer, mainly known for his work at Sadler's Wells. He is mentioned here in a footnote from "The Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams 1895 - 1958".

Gordon, Jack, Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams 1895-1958.JPG

Edited by HarryBrook
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Maj. Hubert Christian Corlette died on 23 April 1956, his obituary was published in The Times on 24 April.

For comparison with Olive Edis's photo, attached is his image from The World's News (Sydney) in which he was included in montage of photos, published 30 January 1915, under the heading "British Soldier Architects".

Corlette, Maj. H. C., obit, The Times, 24.4.1956.JPG

Corbette, The World's News (Sydney) 30.1.1915.JPG

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Major E. Helme

Attended Winchester 1886-91 in Turners House, houses known by their informal name, Turners is known as "Hoppers."

Christ Church College, Oxford.

Glamorganshire Yeomanry, Major 1914.

Staff Captain, G.S.O.3

Commanded Welsh Regiment 15th battalion.

Temp. Lt.-Col. 1919

Wounded twice

Mentioned in Despatches.

D.S.O. and bar

 

source Wykehamist War Service Roll.

 

Andy

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  • 6 months later...

Hi Liz -

Is there somewhere online where we can go to see the list of names/ranks/photos to try and help ID them?  I would love to try and help.

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  • 6 months later...
On 17/10/2016 at 15:29, Liz Elmore said:

Hi all,

 

I'm working with Cromer Museum's collection of Olive Edis photographs (she was Britain's first official female war photographer, and photographed the women's services in France and Belgium - as yet not very well known, but we're hoping to change that!) and I'm hoping you can help me identify some studio portraits of soldiers which we have in the collection. I posted these pictures in the uniforms section of the forum and some forum members very kindly helped me out with the uniforms, and it was suggested that if I shared them here, someone might be able to help me find out a bit more about the individuals. These are all scanned from glass plate negatives, and would have almost certainly have been taken at Edis' studios in either London or Sheringham, Norfolk. Edis was a professional photographer whose clients included Prime Minister David Lloyd George in 1917 and the royal family in 1920 (including the future Kings Edward VIII and George VI), so I assume these soldiers would all have been from fairly privileged backgrounds. Many of them certainly seem to be higher ranking officers. Most of the negatives have a brief note on them which just gives a rank, a surname and a date. 

 

1) Dr. Mayes, 1916, Royal Army Medical Corps

 

CR10266sm.jpg

 

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I have read your recent article and from what’s been written can confirm Dr Mayes as being my Great Grandfather on my Mother’s side. Not sure if to much detail, albeit my Mother and family lived in Westwick, but I am aware of the connection with the Horseshoes and the boat business in Wroxham. My daughter has done some research on the family tree so will see what, if anything, might be forthcoming. Regards Peter

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